Acts 27:21-29 New King James Version (NKJV)
21 But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss.
22 And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.
23 For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve,
24 saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’
25 Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.
26 However, we must run aground on a certain island.”
27 Now when the fourteenth night had come, as we were driven up and down in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors sensed that they were drawing near some land.
28 And they took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and when they had gone a little farther, they took soundings again and found it to be fifteen fathoms.
29 Then, fearing lest we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come.
For a God-given purpose, we are born, and to live.
--Not to seek, for itself, pleasure, wealth, success.
--Jesus said, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33). Make His purpose, ours!
--As we do, all the blessings of God will be ours.
Acts- 10 has two verses, "For what reason have you come .. and for what reason (purpose) have you sent for me?"
--We see God's purposes in several lives (v 21, 29).
--In the Bible, to help us see His purpose in us.
First, God teaches Peter, and us, to love others.
--Peter, a Jew, fisherman, steeped in the Law, prophets, animal sacrifice,, rituals and rules, exclusivism from others; was now a follower of Jesus.
--In Joppa on a roof-top, God spoke three times to Peter, in a voice and vision. Read it in Acts 10:16.
--For a revelation, "God has shown me I should not call any man common or unclean" or inferior (v 28).
--We see God's purpose - prepare Peter to love others.
Next in this fascinating story is a Gentile, Cornelius.
--Cornelius was a Roman, soldier, former pagan, worshiping the true God in a synagogue with Jews.
--Let's meet him. "A devout man, one who feared God, gave alms generously to the people, prayed to God always" (Acts 10:2). We'd all say, a good man.
--Yet Cornelius needed Jesus. He sought more light..
--An angel of God came to Cornelius, like to Peter.
--Said, "Your prayers and alms have come before God. Send for Peter." Acts 10:3-5 give the details.
--So he sent men to Joppa, to fetch Peter, to come.
They all came to lovely Caesarea on the Mediterranean.
--Cornelius, his family and soldiers, eagerly awaited.
--Inside, Peter asked, "For what purpose have you sent for me?" Why am I here? What can I do for you?
--They all wanted to know about Jesus. He told them.
Deep down, people still want to know about Jesus.
--Angels, visions, or voices not needed, for we have the Spirit of God, Word of God, messengers of God.
My friend, God cares for us all. Knows all about us.
--God said to Cornelius, "Your prayers and alms have come up for a memorial before God" (v 4).
--See, God knows. Records. Blesses our devotions.
--Cornelius lived up to the light he had.
--Now God is giving him the Light of Jesus,"the Light of the world. Who follows (Him) will have the light of life." Cornelius had a purpose - life, eternal!
So Cornelius sent a delegation to Peter in Joppa, for Peter, "Come, help us."
--In verse 20, God assured Peter, "I have sent them."
--Peter met the men, asked the purpose of the visit.
--They told him. Peter lodged them for the night.
Next day, with six Jewish Christians and men Cornelius sent, they began the 30-mile walk (v 23; 11:12).
In Caesarea, what a welcome! "As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, fell at his feet, worshiped him."
--Cornelius meant well. Worshiped the wrong one!
--Peter exaplained he was just "a man." Not a God.
--Worship belongs to God. To Jesus - Who is God.
They come into this gathering. Let's follow them.
--Peter stepped into a Gentile's home. A first!
--A giant step for Peter - never before! - and is only after God told him, "What God has cleansed you must not call common" (v 15).
--That God loves all alike! Jew and Gentile! All!
So Peter tells "how unlawful for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation."
--That is what they had long believed - until now. --God told Peter, as believers, we are to love all!
--We should not be prejudiced. Nor racist.
--God's love reaches to all the world. So ought ours.
--Salvation in Jesus is for everyone .. everywhere.
Note Peter's unquestioned obedience to God, saying how "I came .. as soon as I was sent for" (v 29) .
--Peter knew, but invited them to tell, "for what purpose have you sent for me?" They had a good one!
--They wanted to know all about Jesus, to be saved.
My dear friend, you can't get any greater purpose.
--God was taking down walls of partition, separation.
--Not Jew or Gentile, black, white, young or old.
--Not those things that divide us; but to unite us.
--God wants all to be one in love, faith in Jesus.
That's why God created us. Has blessed us so.
--"For what reason?" To know God. To love others.
--To give a winsome witness of God's grace to all.
--Cornelius did that. Gave account of God's leading.
--Of a good life, but something missing - Jesus!
--A blessed assurance of heaven, forgiveness, and all the fullness of God's Holy Spirit, to lead us.
There are two types of people in the world, some say.
--Those who come in a room and say, "Here I am!"
--And those who come in saying, "There you are!"
--Those who put Jesus first, others second, and self, last. Those who are godly. Humble. Loveable.
A Christian's purpose is to demonstrate Jesus' life.
--Whose actions say, "I'm here to serve God, and you."
--Whose purpose is "giving preference to one another."
--To "edify one another" (Romans 14:19). Build up.
--To "care for one another" (I Cor. 12:25).
--To willingly "serve one another" (Gal. 5:13).
--To "bear one another's burdens .." (Gal. 6:2).
--To "comfort one another" (I Thess. 5:11).
--To "pray for one another" (James 5:16).
You see, there should be only one kind of Christian.
--The "love one another," kind. Like Jesus does.
--That is why God had Cornelius send for Peter.
See how Peter tells the story of Jesus, in Acts 10.
--How God is "no respecter of persons .. no partiality... In every nation whoever loves Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him" (Acts 10:34f).
He tells of Jesus' death on a cross, for our sins.
--Not His, for He had none. About His resurrection!
--Jesus "raised up the third day, showed Him openly, commanded us to preach" (v 41f).
--Facts to identify the Gospel from other religions.
Look what happened! To Peter's preaching, "The Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the word" (v 44).
--They believed! "Born again." Saved. In Christ.
--The Christian Jews who came with Peter were "astonished, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also" (v 45).
--You see how God loves all of us alike, my friend.
--A Gentile Pentecost! Baptized in Spirit and water.
Ponder God's purposes in these. Lord, do it again!
--Ponder His purpose and plan God has for you!
--I marvel the way God has planned my life, so well.
--I know, dear one, God will bless you, as you yield.
--Surrender your life fully, to Him, in Jesus Christ.
God says, "I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).
--The question: Are we conforming to God's plans?
--You have a purpose. His creation. His salvation.
--Let the Lord reveal it to you. Begin His purpose.
Each dawn I meet the Lord in prayer for His will, His purpose and plan for me this day. Why not try it?
Moses had a purpose, to lead Israel out of bondage.
--Young Daniel "purposed in his heart he would not defile himself ..." (Daniel 1:8). An ideal purpose.
--Nehemiah purposed to "rebuild the fallen walls..."
--Solomon purposed to "build a temple for God."
--Ruth .. Esther .. hundreds of other saints also.
--Not just in the Bible, but in lives today!
--Perhaps yours. I pray it may be, in all of us.
Find God's purpose for you! It begins, to be saved.
--Ask God, "For what reason do you have for one like me?" God will reveal it. He works miracles.
Say to God, "Here am I Lord, use me," and He will.
--In ways that will amaze you. To bless the world.
--Will you do it, dear friend? Receive God's gift.
--That is my purpose God gave me, to give to you.
--Please the Lord. Answer prayers. Change a life.
--See what God can do for you.
Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD. 872